Pastor Yonggi Cho was born on February 14, 1936 in Southern Kyung-sam Province, Sam-nam district, Kyo-doeng area.
He was the first born of five sons and four daughters of Mr. Doo-Chun Cho and Mrs. Bok-sun Kim.
During his childhood he was greatly influenced and trained in Buddhism, Confucianism, and eastern studies.
Yonggi Cho graduated from middle school with honors.
However, his father failed in his bid for an elected office, which also ruined his family financially.
So he went on to technical high school to gain skills suited for finding work soon after graduation.
An American army base was situated near his school and he was able to learn English from the soldiers stationed at the base.
His English proficiency level enabled him to be an interpreter for the principal of his school and chief commander at the army base.
When he was 17 and a sophomore in high school, Yonggi Cho contracted tuberculosis, which put him at death's door. Even as he neared death, he continued to study English by memorizing the English dictionary and his lesson books.
Then his sister's Christian friend visited him, and he accepted Christ as his personal Savior.
As the disease continued to plague him, Yonggi Cho went to his hometown to continue receiving treatment for the disease.
One day he attended a crusade in Pusan led by missionary Ken Tize, and he received the blessing of God.
After that he began helping missionary Tize with interpretation as well as reading various Christian books, which helped him understand the Christian truth in greater depths.
However, since he lacked firm conviction, Yonggi Cho struggled inwardly and began to fast and pray.
Then one night while fasting and praying he met Christ through a vision of light.
Through the vision, he was filled with the Holy Spirit. The night he met Christ, Yonggi Cho was called by God to study theology.
He came to Seoul in 1956 and entered Full Gospel Bible College on a scholarship.
It was here that he met his future partner in ministry and his future mother-in-law, Pastor Choi Ja-shil.
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